WHEELING, W.Va.- The Wheeling Nailers brought loads of heart and energy into the new year, and the good times rolled on at WesBanco Arena on Friday night. The Nailers carried a three-goal first period through to the finish line, as they defeated the Fort Wayne Komets, 4-2 at WesBanco Arena to earn their fourth triumph in the last five contests. Former Komet Bailey Brkin was the star of the night with 36 saves, while Wheeling received goals from Cédric Desruisseaux, David Drake, Gianluca Esteves, and Brooklyn Kalmikov.

The first period was a fabulous one for the Nailers, who flew out to a 3-0 lead. The power play got the puck rolling in the right direction to start the scoring at the 11:42 mark. Carter Johnson navigated his way into the slot, where he was helped by Jordan Frasca, who threaded a pass to Cédric Desruisseaux, who powered in a wrist shot from the left side. 1:09 later, the home side struck again. Samuel Tremblay dropped a pass off to David Drake, who stepped into the feed, and roofed a wrist shot into the top-right corner of the cage. Wheeling added another marker with 2:48 remaining. Jack Van Boekel’s long distance shot got stopped, but Tremblay and Félix Paré battled the puck over to Gianluca Esteves, who deposited the open shot from the left side of the crease.

Fort Wayne attempted to bounce back in the early stages of the middle frame. Shawn Boudrias scrambled a loose puck through the low slot to Joshua Winquist, who dunked in his attempt from beneath the right circle. The Nailers dusted themselves off from that, and rebuilt their three-goal advantage later in the period. Brooklyn Kalmikov stole the puck at his own blueline, motored the other way, and zipped in a wrist shot along the ice from the left circle.

Daniel Maggio tipped in Tye Felhaber’s wrist shot for the Komets at the 3:56 mark of the third period, but Wheeling’s defense played a great shutdown third period to secure the 4-2 win.

Bailey Brkin earned the victory with a stellar performance for the Nailers, as he denied 36 of the 38 shots he faced. Rylan Parenteau took the loss for Fort Wayne, as he made 32 saves on 36 shots.

The Nailers will make a quick trip over to Cincinnati to face the Cyclones on Saturday at 7:35 p.m. , before returning to Downtown Wheeling to begin a stretch of five consecutive home games. The first of those is Sunday afternoon at 4:10 p.m., when Wheeling hosts Kalamazoo.